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Plastic Surgery after Weight Loss

After major weight loss, body contouring surgery sculpts and trims excess skin to reveal your body's new slim shape.

Are you a good candidate for plastic surgery after weight loss? Ask Dr. Preminger!

Plastic Surgery after Weight Loss in NYC

Significant weight loss is a major achievement for those who’ve been struggling with obesity. Dropping 100 pounds or more yields a dramatic physical transformation that also equates to better health, lower blood pressure, less joint pain and more energy. However, after attaining their desired weight loss, many men and women discover their slimmer frame needs some extra fine-tuning. With the exception of a few cases, massive weight loss leaves behind heavy folds of excess skin – a constant reminder of one’s larger, former self.

Plastic surgery after significant weight loss helps to restore normal proportions by removing remaining loose skin. The most common areas of concern include the upper arms, belly, midsection, buttocks, back and thighs. Many women also complain of lost volume and significant drooping of their breasts.

Body contouring procedures are designed to lift and tighten excess skin, and are an effective way to relieve discomfort, improve personal hygiene, and minimize potential embarrassment while helping clothes fit better. Recent advancements in plastic surgery have allowed plastic surgeons to innovate new body lift procedures to help those who have done such a remarkable job with their weight loss to enjoy their results so much more.

For example, auto augmentation is a newer procedure that offers an alternative for women who wish to restore their breast volume without implants. With this technique, plastic surgeons are able to restore breast fullness and eliminate the sagging caused by dramatic weight loss. Read on to discover more about some of the other life-changing surgical procedures available to those who have lost a significant amount of weight.

“A lot of people spend a lifetime struggling with their weight,” says Dr. Preminger. “One thing that patients have in common after they’ve lost a significant amount of weight is that they still don’t feel good about themselves. They don’t feel good about the way they look undressed or even in clothing. That’s because, while they’ve lost a lot of fat and they’ve brought down their weight on a scale, they’re actually still not happy about their appearance because they have a lot of extra hanging skin in various areas.”

After taking advantage of post-weight loss plastic surgery, “Patients feel so much better about themselves, and I really do consider these procedures to be the completion of a life-long struggle with these patients’ appearance and a victory over this struggle that they’ve had.

a silhouette of a slim woman wearing underwear

Benefits of plastic surgery after weight loss

While dramatic weight loss has many health benefits, the body’s skin and underlying tissue lacks the elasticity to snap back after being stretched. When the skin’s elastic fibers are damaged over many months and years, this can lead to permanent stretch marks as well as hanging folds of extra skin. Other factors such as lifestyle choices (sun exposure and smoking), genetics and age will also affect how much excess skin will be present after substantial weight loss.

The good news is whether you lost weight through bariatric surgery or diet and exercise, Dr. B. Aviva Preminger can help you achieve more toned, attractive contours that show off your new slender body.

As an experienced and highly trained NYC plastic surgeon, Dr. Preminger has safely and effectively managed the aesthetic and health concerns of her patients, delivering confidence-boosting results.

Body lift surgery, which eliminates excess fat and skin after weight loss, can enhance your appearance dramatically. The average patient loses another 10 to 15 pounds in skin alone. A combination of procedures including liposuction, abdominoplasty, as well as arm and thigh lifts reduces or completely eliminates overhanging skin that frequently leads to rashes, chafing, infections and general discomfort. However, not all weight loss patients are ready for plastic surgery.

Patients should be aware that it’s impossible to fully restore the skin back to its appearance and elasticity before massive weight gain and loss. And while the results of a lower body lift and tummy tuck are permanent, your skin may continue to sag over the years as part of the normal aging process.

Ideal candidates for body contouring after substantial weight loss:

  • Have maintained a stable weight for at least 8-12 months after significant weight loss. This enables time for the skin to shrink, and also ensures patients are at optimal health.
  • Are free of medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiac disease.
  • Are non-smokers — smoking inhibits healing and may lead to serious post-op complications. Smokers are usually asked to stop smoking at least 6 weeks prior to surgery.
  • Have realistic expectations about the outcomes and residual scarring.
  • Are emotionally prepared for the surgery and recovery process.
"You’ve already done all the hard work and made huge changes for the betterment of your health. Body contouring after weight loss can help show off the work you've done so that you can better enjoy the new you."
B. Aviva Preminger, MD

Customized body lift surgery in NYC

Dr. Preminger will recommend certain procedures to help you attain your aesthetic goals. In some cases, they may be performed in one surgical visit. Other times, surgeries may be staggered over several weeks for better results.

  • Panniculectomy – This is a procedure that removes lower stomach skin that drapes down below the belly button. In some patients, this skin hangs below the thighs causing health hazards. The procedure can last anywhere from two to three hours.
  • Liposuction – Lipo is the cornerstone of body contouring surgery after weight loss. Tiny incisions are made in targeted areas, such as the thighs, flanks, arms and stomach, to suction out fat cells. The treatment only requires local sedation and, if performed alone, patients are back to work in 4-7 days. Liposuction is usually used in conjunction with a body lift for optimal results.
  • Lower body lift – An incision is made around the middle of the body to remove loose skin and underlying adipose tissue around the stomach, waist, thighs, hips and buttocks. The procedure can be performed in conjunction with a tummy tuck if necessary. Patients should anticipate a 2-3 week recovery period.
  • Abdominoplasty – A tummy tuck after weight loss gets rid of excess skin in the lower abdomen while removing or reducing the appearance of stretch marks. Abdominoplasty also repairs weakened or separated muscles resulting from pregnancy. The procedure does leave a scar along the bikini line, but this fades significantly over time.
  • Arm lift – This procedure gets rid of “bat wings,” those sagging flaps of skin and fatty tissue that droop under the upper arms. The length and placement of the incision will depend upon the amount of loose skin, and will be calculated to keep scars as inconspicuous as possible.
  • Thigh lift – Excess skin in the thigh and groin area can be especially uncomfortable. A thigh lift eliminates this problem while reshaping the contours of the thighs for a more slender appearance. Thigh lift surgery is often performed after liposuction, and incisions may be placed below the buttock fold or within the groin fold.
  • Breast lift – Also known as mastopexy, a breast lift addresses pendulous or sagging breasts, returning them to a more youthful and elevated position. Women who desire more volume may benefit from breast augmentation with gummy bear, saline or silicone implants.

Dr. Preminger will make every effort to minimize incisions and place them in inconspicuous locations such as body creases. Patients should be aware that all of these procedures will result in a few unavoidable scars that will lighten considerably over the years. For the majority of patients, this tradeoff is well worth it.

Recovery and maintaining results of body lift surgery after weight loss

Depending on the body contouring procedures performed, recovery time may range from one to three weeks. Dr. Preminger will outline all post-operative recommendations and when you can return to your normal activities. You will also be given detailed information about normal post-op swelling, pain and bruising, and potential complications to watch out for.

The results of your plastic surgery are permanent, barring rapid weight gain and pregnancy. A balanced diet, regular exercise and maintaining a stable weight can help ensure you enjoy your toned contours for years to come.

Interestingly, a study published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery found that patients who had bariatric surgery for weight loss and later underwent body contouring to remove excess skin were less likely to gain the weight back compared to those who didn’t have plastic surgery.

For more information about body contouring after weight loss, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Preminger today, please call (212) 706-1900 or contact us online.

Video Transcription:

[Dr.Preminger] Losing weight is quite an accomplishment. No matter how you’ve lost that weight; whether through diet and exercise or one of the surgical procedures that are available today, you’re unfortunately often left with a lot of excess hanging skin.

The most common areas involved are the arms, the belly, the thighs and often patients are left with breasts that have lost volume and drooped significantly. The breasts actually are really interesting part of this because many of these patients who’ve really lost a lot of weight, have lost a significant amount of breast volume and they don’t necessarily want implants.

One of the amazing things that we as plastic surgeons can do today is something called auto augmentation which is using the extra hanging tissue that you have to fill out, restore volume and lift the breasts.

[Patient] I’d gone back and forth with my weight for years. Probably from the time I was 16 until I was 50 I had struggled with weight. I had gotten very, very heavy. I’d lost some weight. I gained it back with some interest. I lost some weight and just never gotten to anything that resembled a normal weight. Then one day I weighed the way I wanted to be and I kept on losing weight. And then suddenly I became kind of small. But as I became small, I also realized my skin was more than I needed.

[Dr. Preminger] This is a great procedure for patients who have lost a lot of weight because many of these patients have a lot of extra hanging skin of the underarm region. This extra tissue really bothers them and can actually interfere with hygiene, doesn’t look great in clothing and can hang over the bra. One of the amazing things that we can do is remove that tissue and rotate it in to fill the upper pole of the breast which is really where you want that fullness. So what we are able to do is remove the fullness where you don’t want it and use the tissue where you do want it. The results are permanent.

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If you are ready to make a change to your appearance, choose the best plastic surgeon and cosmetic team for your procedure. Aviva Preminger, MD Aesthetic Plastic Surgery offers intricate procedures to reshape the face, breasts and body, as well as rejuvenating treatments to look your best at every age.

Contact us today at our office in Manhattan to schedule a personalized consultation with Dr. Preminger and begin your journey to feeling and looking your best!

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